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Animals in Advertising

Galina Stoyanova , Librarian, Business & Economics Department,

“Animals are popular because they are aspirational. They live for the moment, are true to their affections and they don’t worry about having a bad hair day. Difficult standard for us people to live up to.”    -- Luke Tipping, advertiser.

Advertisers choose animals for ads because they easily make an imprint on our memory and often make us want to try the product. A couple of months ago, this blogger had a chance to explore a very successful brand, Guinness while visiting Ireland. Guinness’ iconic stature is partly due to its advertising. Presently, Guinness accounts for more than a quarter of all beers sold in Ireland. The UK is the only state to consume more Guinness than Ireland. The third largest Guinness drinking country is Nigeria, followed by the USA.

The most notable advertisements for Guinness were created by S.H. Benson’s Advertising artist John Gilroy who drew the iconic zoo keeper and animals enjoying Guinness. The hapless zoo keeper was a caricature of Gilroy himself in a company of an ostrich, a pelican, a tortoise, a bear, a lion, crocodile, giraffe, penguin and of course the most famous of all, the toucan

The idea of using animals to advertise Guinness occurred to Gilroy after visiting the circus. While watching a performing sea lion, he entertained the curious thought that the animal would be smart enough to balance a glass of Guinness on its nose.

Gilroy’s most famous work was the contribution he made to one of the world’s longest running campaigns, “My Goodness, My Guinness.”

When in the 1920s people told the company that they felt good after their pint, the slogan was born – “Guinness is Good for You.”

Advertising for alcoholic drinks that implies improved physical performance or enhanced personal qualities is now prohibited in Ireland.  Diageo, the company that now manufactures Guinness, says: “We never make any medical claims for our drinks.” Such ads, however, are still being displayed near some bars in Ireland, as shown below:

Pictures taken by this blogger in Ireland (September 2015)